Archive for the ‘suffering’ Category

God permits what he hates to achieve what he loves

November 11, 2011

God permits what he hates to achieve what he loves.

Joni Eareckson Tada

 

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There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty

October 8, 2011

There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—the kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a foot-ball, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his almonry to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an enthroned God, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on his throne is not the God they love. They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his sceptre in his hand and his crown upon his head. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon his throne whom we trust.

 

Charles Spurgeon

What crime, what fault, have these infants committed Who are crushed and bloody on their mother’s breast?

September 8, 2011

After the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which killed 30,000 and left the city in ruins, Voltaire wrote a poem that questioned the Leibnizian notion, expressed most pithily in Pope’s famous words, “Whatever is, is right.” Divine providence being benign, this notion holds, all must be for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds, despite appearances to the contrary, and nothing could be other than it is. Voltaire sharply challenged this view in his “Poem on the Lisbon Disaster; Or an Examination of the Axiom that All Is Well.”

Will you say, on seeing this pile of dead:
“God is revenged, their death is the price of their crimes”?
What crime, what fault, have these infants committed
Who are crushed and bloody on their mother’s breast?
Did Lisbon, which is no more, have more vices
Than Paris, than London, which are sunk in pleasures?

Theodore Dalrymple

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood pPilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, q“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you rrepent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in sSiloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you rrepent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13

He was never made wiser by his sufferings

September 8, 2011

By imputing none of his miseries to himself, he continued to act upon the same principles, and to follow the same path; was never made wiser by his sufferings, nor preserved by one misfortune from falling into another. He proceeded throughout his life to tread the same steps on the same circle; always applauding his past conduct, or at least forgetting it, to amuse himself with phantoms of happiness, which were dancing before him; and willingly turned his eyes from the light of reason, when it would have discovered the illusion, and shown him, what he never wished to see, his real state.

Johnson’s Lives of the Poets — Volume 1, on the poet Savage

We are supposed to learn from suffering but we may merely live in the illusion that we are incapable of folly or evil.

Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form

November 21, 2010

It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others die.

Charles Spurgeon

the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness

February 6, 2010

‘In the matter of faith-healing, health is set before us as if it were the great thing to be desired above all other things. Is it so? I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has. . . . A sick wife, a newly-made grave, poverty, slander, sinking of spirit, might teach us lessons nowhere else to be learned so well. Trials drive us to the realities of religion.’

Spurgeon

why are you not in here?

January 18, 2010

Pastor Martin Niemoller was well known for his opposition to the Nazi State.

Many times Nazi officials sat in his church to intimidate him by taking notes. Finally, they had had enough, and Niemoller was arrested. The next morning, in jail, the chaplain stopped by, who was also a Lutheran minister, and expressed surprise at seeing his friend, Martin Niemoller, behind bars. The chaplain said, ‘Brother, what did you do? Why are you in here?’ Niemoller’s response: ‘Brother, given what’s happening in our country, why are you not in here?'”

Why won’t we suffer for our saviour and stand up for truth? It is the christian at ease that is the anomoly – not the suffering Christian.

In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God

December 8, 2009

I never knew what it was for God to stand by me at all turns… as I have found him since I came in hither (in prison)…In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God . . . . Jesus Christ was never more real and apparent than now.

John Bunyan, in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.209

Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces

December 8, 2009

But notwithstanding these helps, I found myself a man and compassed with infirmities; the parting with my wife and poor children, hath often been to me in this place, as the pulling the flesh from the bones, and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all besides: Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.

Poor child! thought I, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world! Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind should blow upon thee. But yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you: Oh! I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet, thought I, I must do it, I must do it.

John Bunyan, on the consequences of refusing to conform and being sent to prison for the truth of Scripture, in Grace Abounding 327-328, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, pp.188-9

I begged of God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, that then I might be set at liberty; but if not, His will be done

December 8, 2009

I was not at all daunted but rather glad, and saw evidently that the Lord had heard me; for before I went down to the justice, I begged of God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, that then I might be set at liberty; but if not, His will be done; for I was not altogether without hopes but that my imprisonment might be an awakening to the saints in the country, therefore I could not tell well which to choose; only I, in that manner, did commit the thing to God.

John Bunyan, on the prospect of imprisonment, in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.188